COVID-19 Ministry Resumption Plan
North Cincinnati Community Church
COVID-19 Ministry Resumption Plan
North Cincy Friends & Family,
As aspects of our pre-COVID-19 life resume, we are excited to announce our plan for resuming our in-person ministries as a church. When we made the initial call on March 13thto cancel our in-person ministries, we obviously had no idea that we would be apart for so long. While we are thankful for the ways modern technology has enabled us to continue to worship and fellowship as a church during this season, we also recognize that these opportunities fail in comparison to the incarnate fellowship for which we were created. Personally, the absence of our in-person gatherings has helped me to recognize the many and often underappreciated blessings that come through our gathering together each week. I miss your faces, your voices, and your love for the Lord.
As we prepare to resume gathering in-person, I want to give you a fairly detailed overview of our Phase 1 Resumption Plan so that you can anticipate what to expect and can prepare your hearts. Details on additional phases of in-person will be communicated at later date. We will continue to evaluate as we resume, and our intent is to add additional aspects of ministry in phases approximately every 2-3 weeks. Again, specific details on what will be added and when will be determined and communicated as we go.
In order to help us to prepare, I would also like to ask you to register for in-personworship service, which will begin on Sunday, June 14that 10:45 A.M. As you will see below, in order to maintain social distancing guidelines, we will have reduced seating in the sanctuary. Registering for our worship services will help us to be prepared each week and will also help us to determine if and when we need to provide multiple services due to our reduced seating capacity. After looking over the details of our plans below, please take a moment to register for the worship service on June 14th. If you plan to attend, please complete by June 7th. Registration is being facilitated using TouchPoint, our church’s content management system. This is the same system we have been using for online giving, annual contribution statements, event registrations, and weekly check-in for children’s ministry. If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Office Administrator, Annette Linton (email@example.com).
Beyond the particular details of our plan for resumption, I also want to offer a brief pastoral word as we navigate the current and upcoming season of life. As you know, we live in a highly polarized culture with various opinions on just about everything under the sun. This is no less the case when it comes to how to respond to COVID-19 or what to think of the many restrictions and limitations we have all been under. However, unlike the culture at large, the church possesses unique resources for navigating the relational challenges and dynamics that come with having differences of opinion. The self-denying call of the gospel to die to ourselves and love our neighbors, and the power of the Spirit that enables us to live that calling out, uniquely motivate and enable us to navigate differences with grace, patience, and love.
I am sure that many of you fall somewhere on a broad spectrum. Some may think we are resuming to worship in-person too soon, with too few restrictions in place. Others may think we are returning far too late, with too many restrictions in place. While many others perhaps fall somewhere in between. Wherever you may fall on that broad continuum, I want to encourage you to ask the Lord to help you bear the fruit of the Spirit (“…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”, Gal. 5:22-23) and to have the self-denying mind of Christ that looked not only to His own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phil. 2:5). Certainly, such a mindset is not natural to us as fallen human beings. However, through the presence of Christ in us such a mindset is “yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Such a mindset allows us to have strongly held personal convictions, and yet to allows us as brothers and sisters the freedom to disagree (Romans 14:5-13).
Just as our time apart has been longer than most anticipated back in March, the road back to normalcy will likely be long as well, challenging our patience and inviting us to a greater dependence on the Spirit and love for one another. The reminder of Brett McCracken in his article, Church Don’t Let Corona Virus Divide You, is instructive. He writes: “As hard as it will be to practice patience, remember that in the scheme of eternity this season – whether it’s months long or years – will be but a blip.”May the Lord help each of us to keep such an eternal perspective as we navigate all of our earthly days, including the days of 2020.
I am excited to gather in-person once again. If you have any questions or concerns about our plans for resumption, please feel free to email myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or one of our elders.
With you and for you,
NORTH CINCINNATI PHASE 1 RESUMPTION PLAN
We are adopting a multi-phased approach to resuming in-person ministries, beginning with our Sunday morning worship gathering, on Sunday, June 14th at 10:45 A.M. Throughout the last ten weeks we have continually been developing our plan for resumption in consultation with the recommendations of the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, Citizens for Community Values, and our fellow church leaders in our community and denomination. Below is an overview of the criteria we are seeking to account for during each phase of resumption, with the particular implications for Phase 1.
In addition to the criteria below, please exercise personal discretion when it comes to your own health and stay home if you have a cough, a fever, or you are not feeling well.
Ensuring Recommended Social Distancing Guidelines– During each phase of resumption we will seek to maintain the recommended social distancing guidelines per the CDC. In our initial phase this will include:
- Our rows of chairs in the sanctuary will be spaced six feet apart. Those not in the same family may sit in the same row so long as they maintain recommended distance from one another.
- We are strongly encouraging all those in attendance to wear a mask while in the building, this includes while singing during worship. Masks will be provided when you arrive for those who did not bring one from home.
- Those leading (preacher, liturgist, musicians) will wear a mask when not on stage and will maintain recommended distance from one another.
- We will have structured dismissal at the conclusion of the service, with ushers dismissing by rows to allow people to leave in smaller groups.
- Once dismissed please make your way to the parking lot and use this space as an “outdoor lobby”.
Minimizing Surfaces Touched by Those Present– To minimize risk of infection we will also be limiting the number of surface areas touched by those present. In our initial phases this will include:
- Restrict all building / room access on Sundays to the sanctuary, bathrooms, and lobby. All building access throughout the week will temporarily be limited to the church staff to ensure that we are maintaining proper cleaning procedures.
- Offering will be collected in a collection box next to the sanctuary exit doors, rather than passing offering plates during the worship service.
- No worship bulletins will be handed out. A downloadable pdf of the bulletin will be made available on our website each Friday and a link to it will be included in the Friday email.
- Entry doors to the building will be propped open for worship.
- Minimizing Volunteers Required – At each phase of resumption we will be limiting the number of volunteers required for ministry each week, starting with the absolute minimum number of volunteers necessary to facilitate our in-person ministry gatherings. This means we will not provide nursery care, Wee-Worship (children’s church), coffee, or communion during this initial phase of resumption. We recognize this presents a significant challenge to families with young children. We plan to shorten our services to be more “family friendly” until our nursery and wee-worship ministries resume. We will also continue to resource families who choose to continue to live-stream from home for the time being.
Maintaining Appropriate Cleaning Protocols– Because all resumed activities will require an additional level of cleaning prior to use we will be limiting activities to ensure that appropriate cleaning practices can be maintained. All areas used are being cleaned and disinfected each week after being used.
Providing Virtual Options for those Unable or Uncomfortable with Gathering In-Person – Recognizing that some may not initially feel comfortable returning to our in-person ministry gatherings, we will be providing a live stream option so those at home can participate in the worship service as well. I want to express a special "THANK YOU" to Jacob & Marissa Dike, Jim Ertel, Rick Linton, and Dustin Whittridge who have all gone over and beyond to make sure we will be live-stream capable for June 14th and beyond.